I recently was asked for advice on how a fully employed person could ease into Human Resources consulting. The financial risks of jumping ship and starting a consulting business from scratch seemed very high to this person, and to many others whom I have mentored.
Here are the ideas we explored:
- Get clear on what services you will offer, and can offer on a part time basis. Small scale HR projects, and work that can be completed at night or on weekends are two possibilities.
- Stick to work from clients and sectors that do not compete with your full time employer.
- Align with small boutique consulting firms that may have a need for part time associates to deal with peaks and valleys of client requests.
- Nurture your network. Those who are fully employed are often so focused and drained by their internal work commitments that they neglect their relationships in the outside business community.
- Develop a business plan for your consulting business, and continuously refine as you transition from employment to consulting.
- Educate yourself about consulting. I recommend Flawless Consulting by Peter Block and The Consultant’s Calling by Geoff Bellman as good foundational reading.
- Use vacation days if face-to-face work is required.
- When you have sufficient business, transition to a three or four-day work week.
- Continue to invest in your professional and personal development while you are employed and when you have made the leap into consulting.
- Enjoy the journey!